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Verizon Hall

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NEWS
December 6, 2002 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
A second Steinway grand piano was damaged in Tuesday morning's deluge at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, some warping has begun to appear in the floor of Verizon Hall, and 11 orchestra musicians are reporting damaged instruments. The second damaged piano is not the second concert Steinway in residence at Verizon, but rather one donated by Jacobs Music for a sweepstakes - whose winner is to be chosen in the spring. The piano had been in the Kimmel lobby but was being stored beneath the stage when, during a Philadelphia Orchestra rehearsal, a sprinkler system began discharging dirty water over musicians and incoming music director Christoph Eschenbach.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 8, 2001 | By TOM DI NARDO For the Daily News
The long wait is over. On Thursday night, just after 7, the Philadelphia Orchestra and maestro Wolfgang Sawallisch finally played the first sound in their new Kimmel Center home - a huge, reverberant C. It was the first note of Beethoven's "Coriolan" Overture, which resounded through Verizon Hall. Then came the full piece, and the suite from Stravinsky's "Firebird," played with a special sheen and gusto even though the audience hadn't arrived yet. An hour later, 2,500 patrons had filled the cello-shaped hall for an invitation-only acoustic test performance by the orchestra.
NEWS
February 10, 2003 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Home-team advantage? No, in the realm of orchestras and the cities they tour, often the best concerts are performed away from home. Two factors can conspire toward greatness on the road: Playing the same pieces over and over means a better-rehearsed and more cohesive interpretation. And an ensemble is really on its mettle when it knows that the audience is dotted with members of a rival orchestra. Those qualifiers out of the way, the Cleveland Orchestra's concert Friday night in Verizon Hall was nothing less than astonishing.
NEWS
December 17, 2001 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Great concert halls are not born that way. They are designed, built and opened, and then coaxed, polished and aged before settling into a state of greatness. But Verizon Hall is off to a promising start. The Philadelphia Orchestra played its first full concert in its new home Saturday night, and it is already apparent that Verizon's general sound concept is a success. Russell Johnson, the new hall's acoustician, spent part of last week talking about the fine sound of the old Academy of Music.
NEWS
October 20, 2011 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
When Verizon Hall opened in December 2001, it came with an enormous footnote. Don't rush to judgment, acousticians from Artec said. A new hall requires "tuning" before anyone can know how it really sounds. Tuning commenced. The series of small adjustments turned out to be inadequate. Now about to enter its second decade, Verizon is once again a work in progress, another round of remediations - $1.3 million worth - having taken place over the summer. And the salient question recurs: Is it a great orchestra hall (yet)
ENTERTAINMENT
January 4, 2002 | By Stephen Barol Goldstein FOR THE INQUIRER
Saturday afternoon, the Philadelphia Orchestra will hold its first Family Concert Series performance in its new home. Formerly called Children's Concerts, the series is designed to introduce those ages 6-12 to classical music. The one-hour concerts aim to entertain and teach young people to become discerning listeners - and lifelong patrons of the arts. "We do five of these [concerts] in the subscription year. The musicians look forward to it - they are very busy, but they like the relaxed nature of the events and they get to play a repertoire they normally don't perform at night," said Gary Wood, director of education and community partnerships for the orchestra.
NEWS
November 1, 2002 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
It has hosted Jascha Heifetz and Maria Callas. Even Harpo Marx, Isaac Hayes and Tippi Hedren. But in its high-toned, illustrious century, the Philadelphia Orchestra has never hosted a drag queen. Oh, a brawny Joan Crawford or suspiciously hairy Nurse Ratched has turned up in the cello section from time to time. But this most conservative of Philadelphia cultural institutions has never imported a card-carrying man-in-a-gown to lead the proceedings. Until last night. For the orchestra's annual Halloween concert - its eighth ever, and first in Verizon Hall - the orchestra hired Carlota Ttendant, a redhead with a heart-of-gold reputation earned as the longtime cohost of Gay Bingo, a local AIDS fund-raiser.
NEWS
August 19, 2007 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER CULTURE WRITER
Three years after an acoustical study criticized the sound quality of Verizon Hall, a second leading acoustician says the cello-shaped concert room needs major work to improve its sound. R. Lawrence Kirkegaard was engaged by the Kimmel Center to offer a second opinion after Russell Johnson's Artec Consultants, the hall's original acoustician, reported that remedial work was needed. Kirkegaard - a veteran Chicago acoustician whose Kirkegaard Associates has worked on Carnegie Hall, Chicago Symphony Center, and the new hall at Tanglewood - said in interviews last week that he agreed with Artec's assertion that Verizon was not what it should be. "It needs help," Kirkegaard said.
NEWS
February 16, 2004 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Somehow, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam never arrives anywhere without its halo. Heard in varying degrees according to the repertoire at hand, this immediately identifiable radiance resembles the acoustical afterglow of a great hall or some sort of sonic backlighting more than anything specifically generated by an orchestra. No wonder this was one of the most hotly anticipated events of the season. After all, the radiance survives the passage of decades and music directors.
NEWS
November 5, 2003 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Is it great yet? No. No one on the team steering the acoustic of Verizon Hall to its full potential is declaring the Philadelphia Orchestra's still-new home "great. " Christoph Eschenbach, the orchestra's music director, calls Verizon Hall "very good. " Simon Woods, the orchestra's vice president for all things artistic, says it's "80 percent of the way there. " Almost two years after opening night, hundreds of millions of dollars since the orchestra started dreaming of acoustical perfection, Verizon Hall isn't quite what it should be, Kimmel and orchestra leaders agree.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
March 13, 2016 | By David Patrick Stearns, CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
Always mighty, often amazing, the Mahler Symphony No. 8 unfolded Thursday with somewhat less than the supposed thousand musicians for whom the piece was ideally conceived. But you wouldn't have wanted more than the Philadelphia Orchestra's 420 singers and instrumentalists, who made as much sound as the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall could hold. The first of four sold-out performances that promised to be (and were) the season's highlight, the event commemorated the 100th anniversary of the orchestra's U.S. premiere of the Mahler 8th under Leopold Stokowski.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 3, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
You can be fairly sure that classical music is getting the message across when you see a big gray teddy bear hanging over the side of the first tier in Verizon Hall, waving his paws in the air to tunes from Danny Elfman's The Nightmare Before Christmas . The bear wasn't intended to be part of the show at Saturday morning's first of five Philadelphia Orchestra family concerts this season, but of course the orchestra has a future only to the...
NEWS
October 9, 2015 | By Jenny DeHuff
She's had a dazzling career anchoring television news in her hometown Philadelphia market for more than three decades. Now CBS3's Pat Ciarrocchi is hanging up her hat. When Pope Francis departed Philadelphia 11 days ago, Ciarrocchi said it was a "wheels up" moment for her, too. "The Francis visit has empowered me with the strength to forge a path that is certain to use my voice," she wrote on Facebook. Ciarrochi's been to the Vatican several times, including covering the funeral of Pope John Paul II and the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. But when she learned that Pope Francis was coming to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families, "I could barely breathe," she told me. When his plane touched down in Philly, "I got choked up as I waited for that," she said.
NEWS
August 2, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
It would be understandable if anyone left the Philadelphia Orchestra's second and last free "neighborhood concert" of the season feeling bemused. The point of these concerts, started a decade and half ago, is to bring the orchestra to audiences who don't ordinarily go to it. Holding Thursday night's neighborhood concert in Verizon Hall, the orchestra's home, represented a certain up-is-down logic that perhaps only the orchestra and its sponsors could appreciate. The concert wasn't exactly free, either.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 7, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
The Philadelphia Orchestra, which knows the way to London and Vienna, could use a little help these days finding the neighborhoods of the city in which it lives. In 15 years, the orchestra's wonderful free neighborhood concert series has brought it to North Philadelphia, the Navy Yard, Drexel Hill, and elsewhere. This year, the series consists of two concerts, and you might notice that the next one, July 30, has the intrepid Philadelphians venturing all the way to, well, their usual perch in Verizon Hall.
NEWS
May 7, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Philadelphia's All City Orchestra, the School District's little orchestra that could, is joining the ranks of its bigger, better-funded musical brethren and going on a foreign tour. The 115-or-so-member ensemble, drawn from public schools and recent alumni, will play five concerts in Italy in nine days starting June 20. It is the first tour for the program, says Don S. Liuzzi, the Philadelphia Orchestra timpanist who has led the orchestra for a decade. "There is no musical experience quite like taking your collective work on the road and musically giving and sharing with another country or culture.
NEWS
April 19, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
What does it mean that the Philadelphia Orchestra is now stocking its subscription series with lighter works it once used to draw crowds to the Mann Center and as musical primers at children's concerts? French conductor Stéphane Denève is here for two weeks of populist programming that began Thursday night in the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall with a reprise of a Peter and the Wolf film the orchestra brought to the Mann in 2007. The hall was filled with plenty of grown-ups and a scattering of children who, by their general level of happy buzz, indicated approval.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 28, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
The Philadelphia Orchestra has a rather plastic idea of the concert format these days. On Wednesday night, that meant a hybrid of the talk-and-play concerts it has done under various names over the last two decades, plus offering the LiveNote app that allows the audience to follow real-time program notes on mobile devices. The start time was earlier than usual (6:30 p.m.), and tickets a flat $45 for an intermission-less concert of about 75 minutes. It would be hard to say the format struck a chord with ticket buyers, given the audience in the low hundreds that turned out in Verizon Hall.
NEWS
October 17, 2014 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
In terms of bullying incursions of modern life, the Philadelphia Orchestra's new program-note app ranks somewhere between leaf blowers and fruit stickers. Which is to say that for someone somewhere, life is probably better for having these advances around, but the rest of us don't have to be happy about it. In reality, I wasn't disturbed by LiveNote, which had its debut Tuesday at the orchestra's annual free concert for college students. As the ensemble played Rimsky and Bernstein, listeners with iPhones could toggle between streams of information, either about the piece and composer, and what the app calls "analysis" - not harmonic analysis, but something much more basic.
NEWS
October 13, 2014 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Culture Writer
It's the rare concertgoing eye that hasn't at some point fastened onto the reliable sight of a low, silvery bouffant making its way up and down the aisles of the Academy of Music or Verizon Hall. Antoinette Marie DuBiel took up her spot in the Academy two decades ago and ushers four or five events a week during the season. Raised in Chestnut Hill, she was once a budding pianist with a degree in performance from Chestnut Hill College. After a career in real estate, she is now assistant head usher and hears more concerts than most critics.
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